Participation in RE-framing Residual Materials in Design Theory, Practice and Education.

Written by Joost Adriaanse Joost Adriaanse

Participation in RE-framing Residual Materials in Design Theory, Design Practice and Design Education.

RE-source is a two year collaboration between Design Academy Eindhovenlectorate Places and Traces, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – Faculty of Humanities, Municipality of Rotterdam and Studio Ester van de Wiel. The research project ends in October 2019. RE-source is funded by NWO/SIA smart culture – arts and culture.

The research project RE-source maps urban residual material flows and designs strategies to convert these residual material flows into a ‘source’, i.e. a source from which we can draw (over and over again). Through the network of the municipality of Rotterdam, we try to gain insight into the working method of managing and maintaining the outdoor space and the associated material flows. RE-source investigates the handling of these urban flows in the light of the challenges of a circular economy. Which phases can be distinguished? What are the routes used? Which human and non-human actors such as locations, citizens and professionals involved, tools, vehicles, distances and the like participate in this? How can we use RE-framing to use the residual flows as a source within a circular system and what do these systems, locations, products and materials look like?

The design research into residual material flows within the management of the city provides insight into how these flows can be used as (new) sources within the public domain of the city. It offers different perspectives and outlines possibilities that hopefully contribute to the transformation of a city with a more circular metabolism. One of the central questions is whether by linking design practice to these residual flows we can make a more sustainable public space – from, with and by the city.

By investigating the meeting point of circularity and design practice, RE-source makes an important contribution to the future image of designers and research in general. Which design strategies are used? What culture and what type of thinking shape our actions? What kind of designers should we train? What does design research look like? How do you shape a collaboration between universities, colleges of higher education and market parties? We focus on these questions, and more, in the RE-source project.

Online Platform
The online platform is a living archive. It archives the designerly research performed by the designers, categorizes it and breaks it down. You can navigate the growing collection of designs, interventions, reflections and conversations through the use of labels.

Screenshot 2018-11-07 at 9.05.58 AM
Screenshot of as living archive is dived into two worlds, a practice oriented part (Practice and Design) and a more theoretical part (Theory & Reflection). On the one side, a collection of moments from the design process is taking shape, visualizations, blogs and video’s. On the other side a theoretical reflection on the project is taking shape. By positioning these worlds next to each other, theory and practice, they feed into each other; the abstract and the particular. The collections of related moments from the practice side, selections based on overlapping labels, are juxtaposed by theoretical reflections on the left side underneath the heading ‘Artikelen’. The amount of overlapping labels determines the order. inspires and invokes further reflection as unanticipated and unexpected connections show themselves. The platform helps make the multiformity of the design process insightful and experiential. It brings new possibilities to the fore; as ‘serendipity machine’.

Screenshot 2018-11-07 at 9.06.57 AM
Screenshot of as living archive

By selecting your own labels, you can build collections and groupings, making into a research tool. The complexity of the RE-source project is made workable by offering the possibility of selecting and navigating based on type of residual flow and name of the designer. As well as an archival, communicative and research function, the online platform offers possibilities for education. By collecting and catagorizing various design and research strategies gives valuable insights in the design practice in relation to circularity for both professionals and students.

Every investigation into a residual flow within RE-source is introduced by a synopsis in text and images. From this introductory page you can further explore the residual flow through the most relevant labels listed on that page.

The following people form the main team of RE-source:
Prof. dr. Ginette Verstraete
Dr. David Hamers
Ester van de Wiel
Joost Adriaanse

For more information please visit us at

Re-Source logo


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